Wonder Woman- Movie Review
I’ve been waiting for a movie like this for a very long time. Hell, a lot of people have. Not only is it one of very few female-driven superhero movies in existence, but its an origin story for the most iconic female hero of all time. And its funny that after all these years, only now is she getting the cinematic treatment. Seriously, how many Batman and Superman films have we gotten since the ’70s alone? Not only that, but the studios are hoping Wonder Woman will be a success for the DCU, a shining light for a franchise that’s still struggling to find its way. There are a lot of expectations for Wonder Woman, and thankfully, the film surpasses all of them.
Our story begins in Themyscira, a hidden island inhabited by a race of strong warrior women called the Amazons. Their princess, Diana (played marvelously by Gal Gadot), is training to become one of the next great soldiers. Her life is forever changed when she saves a pilot (Chris Pine) after his plane crashes along the coast. He tells Diana about the chaos of WWI unfolding in the outside world, and, believing it to be the work of Ares, the God of War, she decides to join him on a dangerous journey to end the trail of human suffering.
There are so many good things to say about this movie, but I’ll begin with what I think is the most important- its message. Diana’s perspective on the war is very black and white. She’s so sure that there’s on bad guy to blame, and thinks that destroying him would put an end to all the evils of the world. Though as she discovers the true extent of her own abilities, she realizes the world around her isn’t so simple. And by setting it during WWI, a deeply muddled conflict with blurred lines of who’s good and who’s evil, the message feels even more profound.
I also appreciate how this movie is fiercely feminist without being mean-spirited. What I mean is that it would have been so easy for director Patty Jenkins to portray every male character surrounding Diana as either a misogynist jerk or an idiot-in-distress, and showcase her as a woman who can conquer her battles all by herself. But the film doesn’t go that route. All the male characters have agency (well, expect for the villain but I’ll get to him in a second). They’re three-dimensional, they’re interesting, the good guys can fight for themselves but they and Diana work together as a team. The film doesn touch upon the gender prejudices of early-1900s society, but it never comes off as being too heavy-handed.
As I mentioned before, Gal Gadot is great as Wonder Woman. She sells the physicality and the emotional conflict her character goes through. Chris Pine is another bright spot in the movie. He’s funny, he’s engaging, and his interactions with Diana feel one hundred percent genuine. The rest of the supporting cast do a good job as well. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya as villains Eric Ludendorff and Dr. Poison were fine, but weren’t as well-utilized as I thought they’d be. Cinematography is gorgeous, and the action scenes are energetic and well-choreographed, even though the use of slow-motion was a little too excessive for my taste.
The only major issues I have with this movie is the pacing and the predictability of the narrative. There’s a mystery element introduced in the beginning that hints at who Diana really is and what her greater purpose might be. I was able to figure it out within the first five minutes. I also wished the first act was a tad longer, just so we could see more of the island and spend time with the Amazons. But to be honest, everything else in this movie was so well-realized and such a blast that these issues didn’t bother me much. They didn’t detract from the awesome, inspiring experience I had with Wonder Woman.
Overall Grade: 4.5 out of 5 Stars